How Much Equipment is Needed for my Office Phone System?

The answer to that question depends on the type of phone system you choose. If you select an on-site PBX the short answer is ‘a lot.’ If you opt to go with a hosted PBX, or virtual phone system, the short answer is, ‘hardly any at all.’ Let’s explore what kind of equipment is needed for both types of set-ups.

On-site PBX phone closet

On-site PBX phone systems require clunky equipment and messy wires.

For an on-site PBX (Private Branch Exchange), I will use an Avaya IP500 phone system as an example. This system is a typical one you’d find in a small business because it offers 4 phone lines and 8 phones. For this system you need:

–          a control unit

–          SD card Mu Law

–          R8+ essential edition

–          trunk analog 4 port card

–          office power leads

–          power cord

–          one-x deskphone edition 9620L

–          IPO IP endpoint LIC

Seems like a lot, right? If you’ve never seen one in person, let me paint you a picture.

I recently saw an Avaya system at a customer site and it was overwhelming—there were wires everywhere! It was, quite frankly, a mess. The first thing I thought was, ‘no wonder only one person in their whole company knew how to work this system.’

Needless to say, that customer switched to my company’s virtual phone system, OfficeSuite, and can’t say enough about how easy, simple and clean it is. I agree with him because I use it every day. I’m looking at my desk right now and I see my phone with two cords coming out of it. That’s all! No messy wires at each desk and no closet holding racks of control units engulfed in a sea of tangled copper.

The beauty of any virtual phone system is that no equipment is needed at your office except for the phones. Everything is hosted at your service provider’s location—it is theirs to house, manage and update.

Before I conclude, let me make one point of clarification regarding the Avaya system I used as an example. It is technically considered a hybrid system because it offers VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) phones. This is becoming common among on-site PBX’s because VoIP phones are easier to install and manage and offer comparable call quality as their analog ancestors. In fact, it was difficult to find an on-site PBX  to use as the example for this post that did not offer VoIP phones.


Because virtualization is where all technology is headed. Virtual phone systems can be installed and ready for use in hours, they’re much more affordable, they’re easier to use, and the list goes on and on.

But you don’t have to take my word for it. Do some research or check out some of our testimonials. Then let me know which type of system you’re leaning towards and why by leaving me a comment.

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